Saturday, March 19, 2016


The history of a village changes with time and so it is with our village. Yesterday we went out for a Chinese meal with four of the other 'newbies' in the village, and there was a lot of discussion because their hedgeline of laurels in front of their two new houses has been grubbed up by the builder on the advice of the planning officer, and one presumes at the instigation of the church wardens who wanted something different but not a laurel hedge.  They are to have a 'native' hedge of hawthorn, etc and they are not too worried as it is the builder who will fork up, both literally and metaphorically.  I am rather surprised that once you have bought a house, it is still subject to the restrictions of the people around you, and if you want controversy, the people who lived in the cottages across the road were cross about the 'empty' view of the new houses across the way - no pleasing some people!

Before all this the land belonged to Margaret Wood, a grand old lady who lived to just under a hundred years old, and her cottage on this piece of land eventually fell into disrepair, (wonder if anyone complained then?) and she was forced to go and live in a bungalow, though I believe she came back at night to sleep in the old cottage.

Margaret Wood at Buckingham Palace in 2003
"After her brother's death in 1982 Margaret sold various parts of the orchard and Fish Pond Field to builders who called the area  "The Warren" on account of the rabbits in residence.  Today three properties, Walnut Cottage, Felbridge and High Gables, stand on the land, with sheep pastured on the remainder of Fish Pond Field.  Taken from Margaret Wood's history"

Looking into those blue eyes I can almost hear a chuckle ringing down the years, as there is a lively conversation in the village as to who instigated the planning officer's visit before Christmas.  Poor E who had the week before carefully transplanted snowdrops all along their hedge, had to take them out a week later but she giggles like me at the kerfuffle.

We also have new neighbours, the rooks have decided to build their nests in the copse behind the house, the lawn is strewn with dropped branches and there is a lot of talking between them but they are welcome, though the windows bear testimony to their constant flights...

When we got home from our meal, plentiful and beautifully prepared with Lucie's doggy bag of pork, but just before, everyone wanted to call into the pub. Now our pub is a good old fashioned one and it was absolutely heaving with people from the area, mostly men, apparently it was the finals of the darts game.  It says something about the village, the next pub along the road is closed, our Chinese restaurant is in what once was a pub, and mostly the pubs around are more genteel and do meals, our pub (she says with pride)still sticks to serving drinks and massive simple meals for the locals, those farmers can't half eat!


  1. Planning officers never cease to amaze me. Here in our little town a mile away there is such a lot of new build. It is needed because young people need somewhere to live if they are to stay - but the amount of low cost being built is minimal. Rental prices are high
    £500 upwards a month, which leaves these young folk with nothing left to save for a house deposit.
    We have no end of little barns on our fields, plus one large one. We did sell the large one - and the field surrounding it - a couple of years ago (to our neighbours and friends) but the planning folk will not allow us to convery one of the smaller ones into accomodation which is a reasonable size for ourselves - so we continue to rattle around in quite a large house - just the two of us. We are lucky in that we live a couple of miles outside the National Park border - otherwise things would be much worse.

    1. I see around us that there is a lot of 'secondary' building alongside the main farmhouse, so at one time planning officers were more lenient, but life is very different now the people who work on the farms do not necessarily have farm cottages provided. Mostly of course it is holiday cottages that some of the barns round here are.

  2. I agree about Country File Thelma, that is what makes the Scottish Farm Life programme so good I think - it is really all at the chalk face - life, death, muck and all.

    1. Haven't watched it Pat, I can be a bit squeamish sometimes, though yesterday at the pub next door, there was a 'hunter' so he said, rat and mink catcher I think. Did not engage him too closely on the subject though...